Skip to main content

tv   FAA Reauthorization Act Implementation Hearing Part 2  CSPAN  November 8, 2019 4:39pm-5:42pm EST

4:39 pm
impatience about the timelines. so, i would ask you to keep us informed of meeting the timelines that we've asked you to set out on a variety of issues. so thank you. with that we're going to recess for five minutes and we'll get the room reset. thank you. we're in recess for five minutes.
4:40 pm
i want to thank the panelists for your patience. thank you for being here and being with us and we're looking forward to your testimony. rather than go through the record we'll start. >> thank you. >> so first of all, i'd like to thank the committee for the extraordinary work that you did with all of the stakeholders to
4:41 pm
get a long-term faa reauthorization bill passed. it had been a long time since that had happened and everyone came together, and the votes that you received, we are 393 in the house and 93 in the senate. this is a clear mandate to move forward with very important safety provisions for our aviation system. among those was our issue of ten hours rest for flight attendants. now, this is an issue of safety, health and equality. safety, we had been raising the flag on this issue for more than 30 years, identifying flight attendant fatigue, getting through other faa reauthorization bills the commission of fatigue studies, seven in fact that determined that flight attendant fatigue does exist and the best way to combat it is rest. yet, still here today we don't have that in place. health, harvard conducted a flight attendant health study and the results of those studies were published in the summer of
4:42 pm
2018. it determines that flight attendants have on average between 50 and 400% greater rates of cancer than the public even though they are a more healthy population, and one of those factors that contributes to cancer to the greater rates of cancer is interrupted rest. equality, we are the only country in the world with aviation regulations that do not harmonize flight attendant and pilot rest. this is an issue of equality. so we worked with you very closely to write language that would make it very clear and very simple and i believe you were very clear with the deputy administrator earlier that it was intended that the rule would be changed within 30 days. simply changing one character 8 hours to a two character 10 hours to address flight
4:43 pm
attendant fatigue, the major mitigating factor that can address flight attendant fatigue by increasing that minimum rest by two hours. for whatever reason that did not happen. we had a government shutdown, a grounding of the 737 max, and just now, right before this hearing, days before this hearing, we have an announcement of a rule making. now, i appreciate the attention of the newly confirmed administrator dixon on this issue, but there is not a need for a rule making on this. this has been litigated. it has been heard. it has been studied. there is a determination that this is a safety loophole in our aviation system and it needs to be fixed. flight attendants do not understand how you can write such clear language and not get this in place. we have been negotiating with the airlines to put this in place in the meantime and we have successfully negotiated three new contracts that have the ten hours rest in each of
4:44 pm
those contract negotiations, miami air, frontier and psa. the ten hours rest was implemented within a matter of weeks and there was no cost associated with it in the negotiations. delta airlines, hours after the rule-making process was announced, announced that they would be implementing the ten hours rest as defined in the law by the february bid month, this coming february bid month, demonstrating that this can be done in a very short period of time. this is not complicated. we still have flight attendants who are out there reporting to us that they have forgotten how they traveled home, how they drove home from their trip. they were pulled over by the police saying they were driving as though they were impaired when only moments later they were conducting very serious safety functions that the faa currently says they were safe to perform but they were impaired. others have written to us, why do we have to go through drug testing when the faa has rest rules that has us impaired doing our work. others say, i had a medical
4:45 pm
emergency on board, i had a long day and a short night and thank goodness there were medical personnel on board because i didn't have the mental capacity to address this or to address the conflicts between passengers or to conduct cpr to save a life. this is serious. we're safety professionals. we're aviation's first responders. fatigue exists. you gave very specific instruction to the faa and this needs to be implemented right away. we are talking with the faa. this rule-making will move forward but we would ask that you do everything in your power to get this to be expedited. i did hear the deputy administrator talk about an emergency order of rule making. this seems to be a topic that is ripe for that. so thank you very much. i'd like to talk on many more provisions and answer your questions throughout the testimony.
4:46 pm
>> thank you. now turn to captain fox representing alpa. five minutes. >> thank you chairman larson, ranking member graves, chairman dephase yoe. thank you for that last question to captain elwell. specifically, the faa does have what they need right now to implement the rule. they just have not implemented the rule on secondary barriers. that work was done in 2009 by a regulatory piece that they use for an advisory committee. the work's done. it covers 50 seats up to triple 7s and 787s. they're just stalling and not implementing the rule. i'm proud to represent more than 6 3,000 members of the airline pilots association which is the world's largest noninvolvemental aviation safety commission. we commend this committee for its leadership in guiding congress to pass a strong, safety focused and forward thinking reauthorization. the true test of success however
4:47 pm
will be how and when the executive branch implements these life saving advances. frankly, we are deeply dismayed by the lack of followthrough. a few weeks ago the united states recognized the 18th anniversary of the attacks of 9/11. mandating the insulation of secondary barriers is one of the most important, cost effective, security enhancements identified after the attacks. in the reauthorization, congress called for the faa to issue a rule mandating these barriers for newly manufactured passenger aircraft by october 5th, 2019. rather than issuing the order as congress intended, the faa has bowed to a blatant stall tactic promoted by special interests and created an aviation rule-making advisory committee which like i just said they have already done in 2009. secondary flight barriers are already protecting u.s. airlines. i know because i've flown the
4:48 pm
boeing 757 at united equipped with these security devices. the standard established at the faa's request in 2009 is effective. no more study is needed. alpa thanks the 110 u.s. house members including lawmakers on this committee who signed a letter leaving no doubt that they expect the faa to meet their deadline. we have the data. we know it works. it's time to implement the law. in addition, the faa reauthorization also prescribed the automatic acceptance of voluntary safety reports obtained through the aviation safety action program or asap. asap is a nonpunitive safety reporting program that allows front line employees including pilots to voluntarily report safety issues. right now weeks pass before these reports are reviewed, requiring their automatic acceptance means safety information will be reviewed more quickly, potentially
4:49 pm
preventing accidents. we have been waiting three years for the faa to publish an advisory circular requiring automatic acceptance of these reports. again, we know what works. let's implement the law. in addition, the reauthorization directs the faa to update its requirement for airline pilots to wear oxygen masks above certain altitudes. because of hygiene concerns and a priority on using masks only in emergencies, the international civil aviation organization established an altitude standard of above flight level 410, a change that alpa supports. the reauthorization directs the faa to issue new regulations consistent with the iko no later than october 5, 2019. again, we know what works and we urge the faa and the u.s. airlines to act. airline pilots are pleased that the faa authorization maintains
4:50 pm
life-saving pilot qualification and training regulations. thanks to this committee's leadership, these rules have helped ensure that the united states has not had a single wno due to a pilot training issue in the past decade. alpha pilots will spare no effort to weaken these requirements. >> through the affiliation with the international federation of airline pilot's association, we are proactively engaging to establish a review of pilot qualification and training standards given today's complex operating environment. we know, as do our passenger, that the presence of at least two fully-qualified and highly trained, contributes to a pro-active risk predictive safety culture and it's because the u.s. transportation system is so safe. clearly, congress has the interest of the traveling public at heart in passing this faa
4:51 pm
re-authorization and others should follow your lead and implement as it is intended. we know that for our passenger, our crews and shippers, every day a delay is one too many. thank you for the opportunity for me to be here today. >> thank you, captain fox. i recognize the other greg walden from the small uav coalition. >> thank you. chairman larsen, chairman defazio, ranking member graves and members of the subcommittee. thank you for the opportunity to testify on the unmanned aircraft system subtitle. i am here behalf of the small uav coalition whose numbers have been involved in every working group and industry partnership the faa has established with the u.s. community. coalition members represent the innovative cutting-edge technological leadership that is poised to enable ubiquitous commercial uas operations. we commend congress to implement the policy road map for uas integration.
4:52 pm
it address the development for the secure regulatory framework. we also thank you for including two provisions to lift the two-year hold on uas rule makings and we free the faa to move forward with remote id that will apply to all uas operators. we all encourage that the rule so far delay is now under review at omb. both have demonstrated remote id on the standard which could be implemented today without implementing costly infrastructure or equipage. with respect to unmanned traffic management or otm, coalition members have been working in partnership with nasa for several years when we first urged congress to have reauthorization. in 2016, you created the two-year pilot program and with the 2018 law, the program is now under way. unfortunately, the utm deployment has progressed
4:53 pm
slowly. while they are implementing uta capability, it must support on the framework to do so. as for the certification, we support 807 which is delivery operations and operation of drones over 55 pounds. the law directs the fda to set up a process to address risk-based standards and we find much promise in this provision, but it will take time to work through its complexity. right now we support the risk assessment operation or soara which is a process initially created by the rule authority that goes by the moniker jaris and we support the faa's mosaic and rule making project and developing the tight certification process for the operations that relies primarily on the demonstration of reliability and durability. we strongly endorse the u.s.
4:54 pm
integration pilot program and many coalition members are participating in one or more programs and have had positive experience. on the other hand, we have other reports that suggests success has been uneacven. we believe it must remain in four specific areas, aircraft, airmen, air carriers and airspace. the faa must retain its authority over u.s. operations at any altitude. at the same time, state and local governments possess land use and other police powers and these authorities can co-exist particularly with technical solutions like utm we support the requirement that recreational operators pass on an aeronautical knowledge test and we expect other operators that would otherwise elect not to go to a center to go online. unif rptly, they did not meet the april deadline for the test and they got off to a slow start. we certainly hope the faa can begin offline testing by the end
4:55 pm
of this year. the coalition supported extending counter u.s. authorities to dhs and doj. we believe the guidance required by section 1602 should be in place before counter u.s. authority is exercised, for the same reason, we believe it's premature to extend these authorities to airports or state and local governments. the commercial u.s. industry is international in reach and it's thus, very important that the united states assume its global leadership role. we urge the faa to continue to engage with a k.o. and jaris which has developed an effective framework for complex uas operations and adopted a work plan to address utm air traffic control interface and autonomous operations and the uas flight rules. the fa re-authorization act of 2018 was a major milestone and we asked this committee to continue its vigorous oversight to ensure the directives of the 2018 law is addressed in the
4:56 pm
timely manner. thank you for the opportunity to testify today and i look forward to your questions. >> thanks for your testimony, and i now turn to mark baker, the president of naopa. >> thank you. ranking members graves and members of the subcommittee. thank you for the opportunity to discuss important provisions of last year's reauthorization act and aircraft owners and pilots and the general aviation community. the aaopa represents over 300,000 pilots and aircraft owners across the united states. we are fortunate to have a very engaged members in every state and congressional district across the country. i am fortunate to have had the privilege to fly in the nation for over 40 years. it's an amazing system, modern and the envy of the world and this committee has a lot to do with that. i would like to commend the committee -- mr. baker, if you can pull it closer. thank you. >> i would like to thank and commend the committee for its work in passing the bipartisan five-year faa reauthorization.
4:57 pm
public law 255514 for what it includes and what it does not include and correctly and positively impact general aviation. i'd like to give a special thanks to ranking member sam graves for his leadership on several provisions in the act. thousands of. unlick u unpublic airports collect 170 million people each year. general aviation contributes 200 billion annually to the nation's economy and produces 1.1 million jobs. with the support of this commit, congress has appropriated an additional $1 billion of discretionary funds in the fiscal year of 2018 to meet the demand of infrastructure needs and another in fiscal 2019. speaking for myself and on behalf of those who fly in and out of smaller airport, we appreciate that sport. for many private aircraft owners, they occur in airport hangars include building and maintaining aircraft. it has long advocated for
4:58 pm
changes for the definition of aeronautical activity and hangars. section then 1 codifies that maintenance can be realized. several other provisions are important to the general aviation community including section 556 which requires the faa to increase the duration and the general aviation and aircraft registration from three years to seven years and this is a common sense provision that would reduce the ownership that it strongly supports. section 518 will keep the registry open should a government shutdown occur in the future which will have a positive impact on general aviation and registration requirements. we also support chairman defazio's funding stability act which ensures that all faa activities are funded in the event of a shutdown. section 582 requires payment of history flights which will help
4:59 pm
to continue to track aviation with the future workforce for the aviation community. speaking of our future workforce, congress and this committee specifically have programs through section 625. this was a top priority for aopi. the pilot education grant program and the air force grant program were each authorized at 5 million per year for the next five years. we remain hopeful that the appropriations process will move forward and that it will be fully funded. aopa has a leadership role in developing the future aviation workforce through the aopa high school initiative in providing s.t.e.m.-based education to high school students nationwide and it is opening the door for thousands of teens. with the 2018-19 school year our curriculum is being used in an estimated 2200 children and ninth grade students over 80 schools in 27 states and another 461 students at 25 schools and
5:00 pm
15th states are using the curriculum. in the current year, 161 schools in 34 states are delivering aviation curriculum to these students and our 11th grade curriculum is currently being field tested and to have a four-year program to have a written test to become a private pilot. relating to the authorization i would like to mention the success of the bipartisan passed into law with the security account. also known as a third-class medical referred to now as the basic med. more than 50,000 pilots are flying safety under these new medical standards and please report they have it expeditiously. finally, mr. chairman, we must continue to work together to ensure our nation's leadership in all sections of aviation and we are hopeful that they will work with jim inhofe of oklahoma for aviation.
5:01 pm
thank you very much. >> thank you very much. i appreciate it and the commit appreciates it, and i turn to john breo. >> i'll take breo. with the national consumer league. >> good afternoon chairman larsen and chairman defazio, and the committee. my name is john breault at the national consumers league. i very much appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today and provide the public to the subcommittee. the ncl is the consumer and advocate organization and our non-profit mission is to advocate for justes on behalf of the consumers and workers abroad. the d.o.t. is the sole agency in the united states with the power to have consumer statute in the air marketplace. unfortunately, progress on too many consumer protection rule makings teed up by the 2016 and 2018 faa reauthorization bills
5:02 pm
have slowed to a crawl at best, and a halt at worst. in my written testimony i detail the harm suffered by consumers in a number of areas including overbooking, fare refunds and fare, fee and schedule data. today, however, my remarks will focus two areas of particular concern, minimum seat size standards and family seat being. mr. chairman, as you were aware in your five-plus flights in seattle, seat sizes have been steadily shrinking. passengers and flight attendants have been expressing concerns about seat pitch that can put at risk a passenger's ability to exit in event of an emergency, establishing minimum seat sizes and pitch. until today's testimony for mr. awal, we had seen no indication that, however, the agency was prepared to initiate such a rule making by this october's
5:03 pm
deadline. indeed, the faa has actively resisted advocates pressing it to act on this important issue. you must not sit by and allow the faa to dither and allow the faa to simply adopt whatever inhumane and seat size standard the airline industry favors. a potentially even more serious problem is the issue of family seating. the 2016 faa reauthorization act mandated that within the year of enactment, the d.o.t. will review and create rules requiring airlines to seat children aged 13 or under next to an accompanying family member. incredibly, after a review that included no input from family advocates and no comments from psychologists and any public statements from the airlines, the d.o.t. had a page to its website on family seating and the sexual assault on airplane against minors is a significant
5:04 pm
safety concern. according to the fbi, in-flight sexual assaults increased by 66% from fy-2014 to fy-2016. in 2017 alone the fbi opened 63 investigations into sexual assault on aircraft. the fbi found that children as young as 8 years old have been victims of sexual assault in the air. families are right to be concerned for their children's safety. in response to a four-year request made by my colleagues at consumer reports we now know that from march 2016 to november 2018, 136 complaints were filed at the d.o.t. regarding family seating. it is clear from these complaints that when families with children wishing to sit together, airlines impose fees for preferred seating assignments and priority boarding. >> numerous complaints knowingly assigning seats to children as young as 2 years old.
5:05 pm
families with children under the age of 5 reported being forced to rely on the kindness of strangers or to beg other passengers to switch seats. in numerous cases, families were asked to deplane because of the inconvenience this caused. parents cited the emotional trauma of children sitting alone on children who are autistic or suffer seizures. in multiple cases parents were worried that young children sit away from them were vulnerable to sexual assaults and in particular danger during emergencies. d.o.t. complaints are also the tip of the iceberg and yet in the face of this evidence, the d.o.t. claims that the number of complaints about families sitting together in the air do not justify action by the agency to protect the most vulnerable flyers. mr. chairman, how many children will have to be assaulted on aircraft before the d.o.t. acts? is the d.o.t. putting the desire of airlines to continue generating more than half a billion dollars annually in lucrative fees ahead of children safety? >> simply creating a consumer
5:06 pm
web page is not enough. the d.o.t.'s action has put children at greater risk and on the process it used to determine it should do nothing to stand up on the important children safety issue and mandate on congress' clear intent, and ranking member grays and the members of the subcommittee and thank you for listening to the voice of consumers. i look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you, and last and the best from the great state of washington, from the paralyzed veterans of america. i appreciate you making the trip out here and we were talking earlier before we got started about ernie butler out of monroe, washington, and was a great advocate and he passed away a few years ago and was a great advocate for pva, as well and i want to recognize the other folks from pva here, and thank you for your service. >> chairman larsen, ranking
5:07 pm
member graves and membersist subcommittee. paralyzed veterans of america thanks you for this oversight hearing regarding the faa reauthorization act of 2018. this legislation included many provisions that have properly implemented by the u.s. department of transportation, to improve the air travel experience of catastrophically disabled veterans and all people with disabilities. the air carrier access act is a civil rights law that protect not only pva members and catastrophic disabilities and also the rights of all individuals living with disabilities to access air travel. unfortunately, pva members routinely report incurring bodily harm in boarding aircraft. powered wheelchairs are damaged while stowed. it presents a hostile environment for passengers with disabilities which results in
5:08 pm
cat strofific injuries. he was severely injured when he was dropped while attempting to board an aircraft. mr. brown fractured his tail bone and as a result of this injury developed skin breakdown and injury. he spent three months at the spinal cord injury unit at the va medical center in miami. now he's apprehensive about flying and drove to washington, d.c., from south florida to attend pva meetings and events. mr. brown's situation is not unique among pva members. i too have experienced disab disability-related problems with air travel. it is one of the most common complaints we receive from the members. other house disability champion oynes collusion on several provisions and the faa re-authorization act of 2018. the law included from air travel
5:09 pm
passengers about their rights under the acaa and improve the assistance they received from air carriers and established formal lines of communication between the air travel industry and the disability community and the d.o.t. to address barriers to air travel. the law also requires a forward looking study designed to return the feasibility of passengers flying while in their wheelchairs. in the interest of time i would like to discuss these provisions with section 440 including the requirement to include whether the regulations governing training programs for assisting passengers like paralyzed veterans are sufficient on whether hands-on training should be part of the training regimen. it's unconscionable to think that someone with the spinal cord injury should be assisted in multiple transferred to deboard an aircraft without being properly educated. it is dangerous for those passengers and also for those assisting them. the experience of many of our members who have been injured
5:10 pm
during the process is evidence enough for pva to incur current regulations are not sufficient to guarantee safe passage for these passengers. section 439 required the secretary to establish an advisory committee on the air travel needs of passengers with disabilities and i am pleased to report that the secretary publicly announced the formation of the air carrier access act and advisory committee last friday. pva was honored to have a member of the national staff chosen to have the veterans on this committee. we are hopeful that one of the committee's task would be to assist the secretary and the development of airline passengers' bill of rights required in section 434. i also wanted to highlight our support for the re-authorization, that required gao to study laboratory access and aircraft. when i fly i dehydrate myself to the limit that the possibility that i might need to use a
5:11 pm
lavatory while in air dracraft because they're not accessible, and this is a typical protocol for those here in the audience today. when i fly from washington, d.c. to my home to reston, washington. i intentionally book flights that require layovers in the mid evaluate country so i will not deprive myself to use a lavatory on a cross-country flight and begin rehydrating once the flight is 30 minutes from landing. the dignity of being able to access the lavatory cannot be underestimated and should not be measured against the cost of doing so. if lavatories will be made available on aircraft they should be accessible to all passengers. it represents an important step forward in efforts to improve the air travel experience with passengers with disabilities. however, more work remains to be done. we want air carriers to do the right thing. many times we need congress and
5:12 pm
the department of transportation to guide them. it thanks you for the opportunity to express our views and we look forward to any questions you may have. >> thank you. i'll start my questions. with the d.o.t. has well studied the feasibility of in-cabin wheelchair restraint systems to cut down on the need to transfer folks from a wheelchair to a seat. can you elaborate at all how an in-cabin wheelchair restraint can have the passengers with disabilities? >> i can give you several. >> mr. larsen. >> i've been both a witness and experienced it personally. a couple of years ago i'd fallen and hurt my hip and the one scary thing that these individuals face is that the aisle chair when you go down in the back of an aircraft. i had hurt my hip and i was
5:13 pm
scared that they weren't properly trained to lift me into my seat so i did it myself the best i could. the individuals that took me back weren't paying attention and they banged my leg on every aisle chair 15 rows back. the pain was so intense and i had an event that i had promised to come to d.c. for and i delivered on that promise. ernie butler experienced a similar situation and instead of being on an aisle chair grabbed the wheelchair, and grabbed the back of the seats and kind of bunny hopped himself to wherever he needed to be for fear that they would injure him like they did in the past. he did this probably 40 times before his passing. everybody here to my left has those stories and experienced that situation and the fear of getting out of an aisle chair is immense to all of us. >> in your written testimony, i believe you recount the number of wheelchair damage reports.
5:14 pm
was that in your written statement? >> i don't have the exact number, but it's in the thousands. >> i want to highlight that for the committee. >> actually, tens of thousands would be more specific. >> we keep talking there may be 100,000. thank you. mr. walden, the junior staffer was talking about the pilot and the integration pilot program, and the fact that we gave direction to run it for two years. do you have thoughts on extending it beyond the two-iary legal limit? >> thank you for the question. in my opening remarks i mentioned that success has been uneven. we've had reports and there were
5:15 pm
some participants that are engaged in packaged delivery and only one for compensation are higher. other test sites are -- other ip -- have not been that active and it's been taking a long time to get waivers. so we would recommend not only that the program be extended, but be broadened. i think when the secretary announced the initial selection, it was the idea that others would be selected at a later time. >> there are a number of applicants that were very well qualified. with regard to most of the i.p. program, they were descoped at the start. so that if you -- if an ipp said, we've got 15 projects and the faa says we'll go with three rid now and that left a lot of good work done so it needs to have more fa resources. it needs to be extended and it needs to be broadened.
5:16 pm
>> ms. nelson, you testified that three airlines now have your members have negotiated any agreements with the rule and delta's made an announcement, as well, and any concerns that the markets are getting ahead of the faa, but that the faa is behind -- it is behind the market, and in that -- will the faa be able to market the rule that conforms to what your members and the airlines are actually negotiating? >> well, we have negotiated this language that mirrors what was written in the law and it is the exact same. there's no conflict there at all, and i should also note that horizon air has agreed to implement this outside of contract negotiations, as well, but there is a big difference
5:17 pm
between having negotiated contract language and having a regulation that the airlines must follow and must follow through with and expect that there will be enforcement from the faa. there are many more higher penalties for vile eightiolatin opposed to committing a contract violation. so this, we have been able to determine, that there is not a cost factor of note to this, that the implementation can take place in a matter of week, actually, is what we have been experiencing and that all that the faa needs to do based on all of the data that we already have from the serve-commission fatig fatigue studies is simply follow the direction of congress to update the rule and force the airlines to implement the rest. >> thank you. i recognize mr. fitzpatrick for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman and thank you all of the panelists for being here and i want to
5:18 pm
start with ms. nelson. first off, thank you for your passion in fighting for the health, safety and equality for the people you represent. you're doing a great job. i can say that. first hand, you had mentioned the recent gao study that identified ongoing problems facing passenger service agents. >> what steps do you believe that need to be taken both us on the committee and those implemented in light of that report? >> the gao study confirms what we already know, that customer service agents experience verbal and physical harassment regularly, and so what needs to happen is that most airlines have not complied with what is in the act and that is to develop assault incident protocol, that where they have clear -- a clear process for handling assault when it happens, training for those customer service agents and signage that makes it clear to the public what the penalties
5:19 pm
are if they conduct in this kind of behavior. i will tell you from first hand experience that i came around the corner on an evening in the airport where there were severe storms and because staffing has been reduced both on the plane and at the gates to the lowest level, was there one customer service agent handling reporting that a flight was going to be canceled that night and there was a family of five that was going on their vacation who was there to scratch up her arms so badly that blood was dripping from her arms by the time i got there. there was no airline personnel to see it, no law enforcement to respond and she was in shock coming around the corner having been by herself. if we are going to take this seriously then the airlines need to take this seriously with the protocol that they are required to submit to the faa. the faa needs to engage and enforce this portion of the act, and we need to be very clear in aviation from the highest levels of leadership down to the
5:20 pm
signage at our airports that assault of a customer service agent is a felony. people will be held accountable. we bring a coordinated roundtable with law enforcement at the airports and we all understand what the protocol is to respond. that is the only way that we are going to stop what is happening and is an epidemic in our airports. as flight attendant, we want this to be addressed because we do not need these passengers who are expressing incredible aggressive behavior to slip through the cracks and get on to our planes. this is a very serious issue and it needs to be taken more seriously. >> thank you, ms. nelson. captain fox, you are a subject matter expert in the area that you heard me question about the secondary barriers and thank you for your advok as owe that and ms. nelson, maybe you can opine on this yourself and representing the pilots and the flight attendants on the -- as of now, failure to implement what we passed in the faa
5:21 pm
re-authorization and that's only on new aircraft. as you know, we're fighting for retrofitting, as well. if you would share your thoughts? appreciate it. >> thank you for your oversight and committee. clearly, it will require law to get this mandated and out there and implemented. it is our opinion that forming this advisory opinion, working group right now the faa is looking at secondary barriers is a waste of resources that they have. this work was done by a federal advisory group, rtca back in 2008 and they produced the document that is the performance standard to implement this secondary barrier from 50 seats up to the 787. when the assistant administrator addressed that the flight attendant piece was in there, but it was in there for an interim period of time until the secondary barrier was put in place. they have the costing data. they know how to certify to put
5:22 pm
it in the airplanes and it needs to be done right now. they can issue tomorrow an inner farm rule tomorrow to implement this law and take comments and that's what i think should happen. >> what do you suspect the reason is for your delay? >> it's pure and simple. the ones that have been fighting us all long to do what's right are out there right now fight again and to me it's a disrespect to the congress that passed that law. >> it's a disrespect to those in the room today and to my friends who are on flight 175 with her husband captain victor sarahsini, 18 years later. this is too long. the flight attendants who were standing there using their own bodies as a guard against the flight deck thought that they were doing that for an interim period of time and we need these secondary barriers and they were on planes and they were
5:23 pm
decisions made by some of the airlines to remove them from pre-installed secondary barriers that were on new aircraft that were designed and they did that for cost reasons. aviation, safety and security is written in blood and 18 years is long enough. we need to get this done and i appreciate your leadership and your passion on this issue to make sure that it happens. >> thank you. i ask my committee and members and colleagues to really take note of this. thank you. chairman, i yield back. >> thank you. i will return to representative garcia from illinois. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. i thank all of the panelists for their testimony. i represent a lot of hardworking class people in my district, folks who work day and night to make ends meet. when i learned about the long hours, often uncompensated that flight attendants endured. i was surprised and people think
5:24 pm
it's a glamorous job, still. even more so, to find out that the meager changes made to flight attendants' adequate rest has been delayed. can you, ms. nelson, provide with any additional comments about the strains that this puts on individuals, your family, staff morale and children and what impact this has on the safety of the flying public? >> thank you very much for the question. flight attendants are aviation's first responders and they must be prepared to respond immediately. they switch back and forth between being safety professionals and serving with incredible emotional intelligence to be able to handle all of the people onboard. often times we have to de-escalate conflict and when we don't get enough rest it is much harder to do that. it is much harder to respond to any safety issue. i have another report from a flight attendant who said that she was so fatigued from a short
5:25 pm
night that she forgot to do the safety demo on the plane. so these oftentimes, the flight attendants who are experiencing these short nights and long days are typically the more junior flight attendants. you brought up the issue of pay. these are people who are having to work long hour, not make enough money and one of the issues of fatigue is also not getting enough nutrition. oftentimes they don't have enough money to eat. these are the same people who are not getting enough rest it avoid fatigue and perform the very serious safety and security functions that they must perform. i mentioned earlier a responding to a medical emergency. we are also trained that a medical emergency could be a diversion for a much more serious security attack, and we have to remain vigilant to all of these issues onboard in addition to managing all of the different personalities onboard that sometimes don't always get along. so this is a very serious stress. it happens every single day and
5:26 pm
we continue to receive reports from flight attendants who are under great strain in their own personal health and in their ability to perform their safety duties and respond in an evacuation and also in their home lives because when they go home they're beat and they often then have to take care of children or other responsibilities. >> can you comment, miss nelson, on the seat sizes and space between rows. the case that has been mentioned here at american airlines flight 383 at chicago o'hare is, i think, an occasion that raises much concern about this. can you elaborate on efforts to put more passengers on plane and how this may jeopardize safety? >> yes. we are very much in support of
5:27 pm
the evacuation certification standards study and in fact, we think we need to move forward with addressing the very real conditions in the cabin today. we suspect that the 90-second rule cannot be met with the current conditions onboard if you were to conduct an actual evacuation certification, and in real time with real people who weren't told ahead of time or volunteered and come to the test with tennis shoes on and a good breakfast in their belly and being prepared to respond because they know that's why they're there. so we are very concerned about the shrinking seats. more and more people being packed on our plane, closer and closer together, and no realistic assessment of today's passenger size, or the conditions in the cabin that include having personal electronic devices plugged in everywhere, people stuffing in their overhead baggage
5:28 pm
everywhere. these evacuation certification tests have never taken into consideration the bags that people are taking with them today, and so there is not a realistic assessment and we believe that that is going to lead to a loss of life if we don't take action right now to correct it. >> thank you. >> i yield my time, chairman. >> i recognize mr. graves for five minutes. >> my question is this goes back to ga, and it's to mr. baker. from a pilot's perspective, i guess you might say, what can we do or what should we be focusing on when it comes to our medium and smaller airports to make sure they're viable, to make sure that they're a part of aviation system and that aviation system throughout the country that we just want to make sure that they continue to
5:29 pm
function because without those then obviously we crowd out the larger air force and we want to make sure that's maintained and from your perspective, what do we need to be focusing on and what do we need to do to do a better job for smaller airports? >> thank you for the question. these public use airports that are 500, and the other ones are small, rural and sort of the outer rings of the city, if you will, are very important to the infrastructure system. it was well-intended by this congress to have money set aside, and aip funds for these airports and unfortunately, there is a match cause out there that some cities and communities are stressed and cannot afford those things and get to roll $150 for a couple of years and too often it's well spent to have those investments and we have to look at other ways to help these communities invest in this incredible infrastructure that we have uniquely in this
5:30 pm
country from everything from paramedic relief to agriculture to community access. these are important investments and we have to figure out how to help that match come down some of these key airports as you well know, and there are 3,000 that have the entitlement opportunity. >> i'll pivot now, too, when it comes to ga and adsb and the requirements for them and we still have a lot of ga aircraft out there that are equipped and we've got a deadline that's coming up very, very quickly, and are you concerned about that? do you think that people are just waiting to see what happens, what the price? because it is expensive and there are a couple of option says out there, but it is extraordinarily expensive to equip. you know, what are your thoughts? >> well, you know, the adsb equipment out mandate which starts january of this year is very concerning and we have 70,000 aircraft that are equipped and leaving 70-some
5:31 pm
aircraft and they're 10,000 pete foop the average age is 45 years old and it is less than $40,000 and this was forth between $6,000. the opwners have participated i this mandate. it was helpful for a let of these owners who are doing this for the betterment of the system and for traffic. they don't have to do this. they want to do this and they encourage them to do it, but i would encourage the $500 rebate be re-enacted. >> i yield back. >> okay. i recognize representative norton for five minutes.
5:32 pm
>> thank you very much, mr. chairman. it was important to hear from this panel. i represent a region which has two major airlines. my question, i suppose, is -- am i pronouncing this right, mr. breyault? >> i have special interest in your testimony about family seating and that's not only as you indicated for convenience. a republican not on this committee, but a republican co-sponsor and i, rick crawford, have sponsored a bill. we're calling it the a bear awa that the fbi looks at sexual
5:33 pm
assaults on airlines, cruise ships and other forms of transportation and disaggregate that information so we know where these a assaults, apparently there is some information that, but not disaggregated so we know what we're talking about. this bill, my bill would go before the judiciary committee on crime, terrorism and homeland security. >> i have a special interest because i was a former chair of the u.s. equal employment commission which wrote the first guidelines on sexual harassment and assault and those guidelines probably don't even apply. they may, but i am not even sure how they apply in the context of
5:34 pm
transportation, and i note that in your testimony, mr. breyault, on page 5, you say that section 2309 that is apparently about 2016? faa reauthorization bill mandated and here i'm quoting that within a year after enactment the d.o.t. would review and in appropriate create rules requiring airlines to seat children age 13 or under next to an accompanying family member. this would seem to be much more urgent given what we now know about sexual assaults on airlines, and i think your testimony that even children had been sexually assaulted. do you have any -- -- do you have any information whatsoever on whether the airlines have been approached? that's two years -- that's three
5:35 pm
years ago. when we mandated these rules be created. >> congresswoman, thank you for the question. >> as i mentioned in my oral statement my colleagues at consumer reports magazine recently released records of their interactions with the department of transportation over just this issue and from what i understand the d.o.t. looked at the mandate in the bill which also include, i believe, as appropriate message, as basically a legislative loophole from our opinion, and looked at the number of complaints that they are receiving about family seating, and decided that what they wanted to do would be to create a consumer education website about family seating. based on what we've been able to tell, to see, there has been very little substantive research in terms of talking to family advocates, psychologists and much beyond looking at the how many complaints they've gotten and making a determination that the percentage --
5:36 pm
>> of course, this mandated rule. >> i'm sorry? >> you indicated in your testimony that web site. >> yes. >> have they indicated anything about the mandate for this committee for a rule? >> i understand that what they have done is create -- mr. chairman -- mr. chairman? could i ask that the committee write to the department of transportation. this is three years ago we mandated a rule and they've created a website and we've had testimony here with sexual assaults for airplanes and that's bad enough for anybody and involving children does seem to me that the committee should be in touch not only by the
5:37 pm
tardiness, but about the effect of this tardiness on children and other passengers on airlines, and i ask that a -- whether or however the chairman that we reach the airlines to get a prompt answer. >> i'll make a note of that and i'll have staff follow up with you so we can get the appropriate communication out. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. >> thank you. >> final question. mr. breyault you mentioned the risk-based system when it comes to u.s. integration. you want to state that you're concerned that the faa may be approaching risk in an overly conservative way. can you elaborate on that? >> thank you for your question. . in the proposed rule the faa adopts a risk model that assumes a drone has hit a person, and
5:38 pm
whether the drone would be able to fly over people depends on the severity of that impact, and that's not the test in manned aviation where you look at the probability of failure and the probability of impact and then the severity of the injury. that's the holistic risk model that has been by the peer review groups and represented by the centers for excellence assure and we are hoping that the fa will reconsider that proposed rule, and it wants to time that proposed rule with the remote i.d. final rule and so there is time for the fa to adopt a risk model that is the one that is consistent with manned aviation. >> i want to just make a note of how much overlap there is between the questions that
5:39 pm
members ask of the faa and the d.o.t. and the issues that you yourself brought up. at least at this point we seem to be on track with the stake holers with regard to the fa and right things and we'll continue to do that and the testimony provided is the direction to the full committee and i know it's late, and i know i haven't had lunch and i'm sure some of you want to have lunch, as well. so with that, we have a lot of work left to do, and i really appreciate this panel's efforts and i ask unanimous consent, as well today and the record will remain open until such time as our witnesses have provided answers to questions that may have been submitted to them in writing. any objects? and unanimous consent that the record remain open for 15 days for any additional comments and witnesses to be included in the record of today's rring.
5:40 pm
if so ordered. the committee now stands adjourned. hing. if so ordered. the committee now stands adjourned. aing. if so ordered. the committee now stands adjourned. ring. if so ordered. the committee now stands adjourned. earing. if so ordered. the committee now stands adjourned. tonight on american history tv in prime time, the focus is on the american revolution and we'll talk about how the british army pre-formed. we'll take a look at occupied cities and the discussion on richard st. george who fought alongside the british. join american history tv tonight beginning at 8:00 eastern and every weekend on c-span3. monday is veterans day. defense and veterans affairs officials mark the occasion with a ceremony at arlington national cemetery. you can watch live coverage monday morning at 11:00 eastern
5:41 pm
online at and listen live with the free c-span radio app. and now the heritage foundation hosts a discussion on libel laws. they discuss whether they should be re-examined and used to restrain the mead why. from last month, this is just over an hour. >> good afternoon. my name is david azarad and i'm from the simon center for politics and the fellow here thea the heritage foundation. it is my pleasure to welcome you to the heritage foundation for the panel discussion in our preserve the constitution series. the freedom of the press as all americans know, is enshrined in the first amendment. a free press is a necessary component of republican self-government and a hallmark of a free society. that is not in question. in


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on